Niseko might be one of the snowiest spots in Asia, but the buzz surrounding this Japanese ski town is red hot. Located on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, the area receives a staggering 14 metres of snow per season. To put things into perspective, the snowiest resorts in Europe tend to get up to 10 metres of snow.
Though the numbers are impressive, it’s quality over quantity: Niseko is famed for its powder snow which is considered to be some of the best (if not the best) on the planet. The area is attracting more and more skiers, snowboarders, developers and travellers looking to experience a real life winter wonderland.
Reaching this coveted powder from Europe just got a whole lot easier with Finnair beginning direct flights from Helsinki (HEL) to Sapporo (CTS) for the next ski season. Direct flights will be offered between December 15, 2019 until March 27, 2020. The flight time between Helsinki and Sapporo will be about nine hours.
Finnair is the flag carrier of Finland and ranked as one of the oldest and safest airlines in the world. In recent years, Finnair has become a major carrier between Europe and Asia, offering direct flights from Helsinki to Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and more. After opening the route to Sapporo, Finnair will be the largest European airline flying to Japan. Finnair will also be the only European carrier offering direct flights to Sapporo.
In other words, this new route will make Niseko more accessible from Europe than ever before. Where travellers heading to Niseko from Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle previously had to endure a +12-hour flight to Tokyo followed by a lengthy stopover and a connecting flight to Sapporo, they can now use Helsinki as a shortcut to reach Hokkaido – the transit time at the compact and efficient Helsinki Vantaa airport can be as short as one hour.
In concrete terms, the new Helsinki-Sapporo route will shave several hours off travel time as well as being more cost effective.
After landing at Sapporo Airport (officially New Chitose Airport), it takes around two hours to reach the Niseko ski resort. Other popular ski resorts in the area include Rusutsu, Moiwa and Kiroro, which are located about the same distance from the airport. If this sounds daunting, don’t worry – our concierge team can organise airport transfers for you, making arrivals run smooth and seamless. Our team can also arrange ski rentals, lift passes and lessons before you even land in Japan, leaving you more time to simply relax and enjoy the pow.
Finnair will fly direct between Helsinki and Sapporo from December 15, 2019 until March 27, 2020. Most chalets in Niseko are now open for bookings for the ski season so there’s no better time to start planning your next ski getaway. See you on the slopes!